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Publications > Lane and others, 2010.

From seismic resonance to sediment thickness–Ambient seismic noise analysis using the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (HVSR) method

J.W. Lane, Jr. (jwlane@usgs.gov)
OGW Branch of Geophysics, U.S. Geological Survey, Storrs, CT, USA

E.B. Voytek (ebvoytek@usgs.gov)
OGW Branch of Geophysics, U.S. Geological Survey, Storrs, CT, USA

F. Stumm (fstumm@usgs.gov)
New York Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Coram, NY, USA

A. Chu (achu@usgs.gov)
New York Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Coram, NY, USA

J. Hunter (james.hunter@nrcan-RNCan.gc.ca)
Natural Resources Canada, Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada

A. Pugin (apugin@nrcan.gc.ca)
Natural Resources Canada, Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada

G. Fairchild (gfairchi@usgs.gov)
Massachusetts/Rhode Island Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Northbourgh, MA, USA

E.A. White (eawhite@usgs.gov)
OGW Branch of Geophysics, U.S. Geological Survey, Storrs, CT, USA

C.D. Johnson (cjohnson@usgs.gov)
OGW Branch of Geophysics, U.S. Geological Survey, Storrs, CT, USA

Abstract

Analysis of ambient seismic noise using the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (HVSR) method increasingly is used to delineate unconsolidated sediment thickness and bedrock surface topography. At sites with strong acoustic impedance contrasts between bedrock and overlying sediments, naturally occurring seismic noise induces resonance in the sediments at frequencies in the range of about 10-1 to 102 Hertz (Hz). The ratio of the average horizontal- and vertical-component amplitude spectrums produces a spectral ratio curve with peaks at fundamental and higher-order resonant frequencies. Resonant frequencies are a function of sediment layer thickness and average layer shear-wave velocity. Observed HVSR resonant frequencies, therefore, can be used to estimate sediment thickness and delineate the bedrock surface by using local or regional regression equations developed from HVSR observations adjacent to boreholes known to penetrate bedrock or from direct or indirect measurement of sediment shear-wave velocity. Here we present (1) results of HVSR studies conducted in different geologic settings in the United States and Canada, and; (2) examples of the integration of data from the HVSR method with data from other near-surface geophysical methods to help constrain estimates of depth to bedrock and improve interpretation of the hydrologic framework.


Final copy as submitted to the American Geophysical Union for publication as: Lane, J.W., Jr., Voytek, E.B., Stumm, F., Chu, A., Hunter, J., Pugin, A., Fairchild, G., White, E.A., and Johnson, C.D., 2010, From seismic resonance to sediment thickness–Ambient seismic noise analysis using the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (HVSR) method [abs.], in 2010 Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California, 13-17 December 2010, proceedings: American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., abstract NS44A-01 (invited).

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